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OS Scores Explained Out of the Park Baseball 13 Overview (PC)
Pros
+ Redesigned Interface; New additions enhance immersion; Same addictive gameplay
Cons
- Relatively steep learning curve; A few minor glitches; Super addictive
Bottom Line
Year in and year out, OOTP is always a must-have game for any baseball fan.
9.5
out of 10
Out of the Park Baseball 13 REVIEW

Out of the Park Baseball 13 Review (PC)

The best baseball game available gets better, thanks to some smart improvements.

I’ll skip the typical introductions and get right to the point: If you’ve played Out of the Park in prior years, you should buy OOTP 13. If you like text sims, you should by OOTP 13. If you’ve never heard of OOTP, but love baseball (and own a PC), you should really consider buying OOTP 13.

It’s really that simple. OOTP 13 represents the current pinnacle of text and baseball sims, and is a game nearly all baseball fans will enjoy.

Gameplay

The basic gameplay of OOTP 13 remains as solid as ever. At its core, it’s a GM/manager simulation allowing you to manage rosters, salaries, line-ups, etc. It’s also extremely customizable; you can tweak league settings, replay historical seasons, start as a minor league manager with little control, or create an expansion team.The options are staggering, and allow you to experience the game in a huge variety of ways.

However, some new elements make what OOTP did in the past even better. A redesigned interface puts all of the important tasks in one place, with reminders of critical dates and items that need your attention. The toolbar along the bottom has been placed on the side by default, and while I like its new position, it did take some getting used to. I also wish that the full inbox was on the main manager homescreen; it may be cluttered on some monitors, but running at full-screen I have plenty of unused real estate.

Another gameplay addition is the “Real-time Simulation” mode. It doesn’t add much functionality to the game, but certainly increases the overall pressure felt while playing as a GM. And, with various speed choices, simming ahead feels much more organic than simple pressing the “next day” button.

The trade engine also received some attention. It’s much harder to pry away big name stars, though I’ve seen AI teams more than willing to drop big contracts. Still, trading is easier if you shop your players around and then use the “make this work now” feature. However, in my time with the game, I got scammed once or twice using this method.

There are numerous other gameplay enhancements, including more realistic player development, the option to have historical players show up in your franchise, various playoff formats, news story images, and more. The list of improvements is long, but most of the changes are subtle. That said, the improvements haven’t broken anything and collectively improve every aspect of the game.

Presentation

In addition to the redesigned user interface mentioned above, everything has a cleaner and brighter look this year. Everything is logically placed; most names are links to deeper information. Again, long-time OOTP-users might need a bit of time to figure out where some options are.

One nice touch is the importable graphics, logos, and player faces that give everything an "almost-official" feel. These packages are found in a convenient online add-ons center. Once downloaded, they practically install themselves. This is a nice perk for those who like real logos, but aren’t able to spend the time customizing each team and park.

In-game, the actual gameplay visuals remain the same, with static player pictures and an animated ball. At some point, I think OOTP will need to include some basic player animations; however, most fans of the series probably see them as a bonus and not a requirement.

I did encounter a few graphical glitches that will most likely be patched (and may already be so by the time you read this). For a few games, I didn’t see the animated ball while managing a game. And using the fullscreen in Mac OS 10.7, I occasionally got a blank screen when app-switching.

Lasting Appeal

This game fully embodies the term “lasting appeal,” with so many ways to play and so many customizable options. Even playing the basic “MLB Quickstart’ (with 2012 rosters) multiple times will feel different, as each new play through will take on a life of its own. Online and historical universes add other ways to play, and you can import games saved in last year’s version.

I’ll quote myself from last year’s review: “OOTP continues to be a game with so many options that if you think ‘I wish it could do this,’ a little clicking and menu searching may prove that you can do it after all.” This sentiment stays true for OOTP 13, as does nearly all the praise I lauded onto OOTP 12.

Final Thoughts

Again, this should be an automatic buy for anyone with an ounce of baseball interest. My biggest complaint with OOTP 12 was its interface, which got an effective overhaul for OOTP 13. While it still has quite the learning curve, the manager home screen puts the important stuff (almost) all in one place. And new features, like Real-time Simulation and Interactive Storylines help create a deeper sense of immersion.

Learning Curve: A bit toned down due to refinements in the interface; still, it might take some work to fully understand all that you can do.

Visuals: Everything looks better this year, especially if you use the OOTP Dark skin. In-game animations remain the same.

Lasting Appeal: Again, you could play this until next spring and still not experience all the different ways to play. A true “sandbox” game.

Audio: In game audio adds some great ambiance and is really reactive to situations.

Realism: I haven’t found anything objective to complain about, though I got burned by bad scouting and bad trades that I initiated. Injuries seem toned down compared to last year.


Member Comments
# 1 ey215 @ 04/13/12 06:20 PM
Nice review!

I have to say, OOTP 13 is a huge jump from 12 and I just can't seem to put it down. I've been playing OOTP way too long (I honestly don't remember which was my first version) and this is by far the best version ever. I've never been able to get into historical leagues, but the random debut feature has me hooked.

I have to agree with the reviewer if you love baseball and have a PC you really should try this one out.
 
# 2 Tolstoy @ 04/13/12 06:57 PM
Man I wish there was a college football game like this.
 
# 3 CPRoark @ 04/13/12 07:58 PM
Just to clarify somethIng from the review... I was unable to force any of the new interactive storylines. They are presimably random, and in three years of simming I didn't hit one. They look interesting, I just didn't have the chance to see them in action.
 
# 4 Vechi8 @ 04/13/12 09:09 PM
Who needs to play fantasy baseball when you have OOTP!! Tha game is a beast and if you love numbers and stats and contracts and scouting, and coaching and general management (you get the idea) this is for you!! Some of you may have played, I think it was by Avalon Hill??, on the Commodore 64 baseball Sim and how awesome that was. This game finally matches the fun factor that I had with that game.
 
# 5 ey215 @ 04/13/12 09:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPRoark
Just to clarify somethIng from the review... I was unable to force any of the new interactive storylines. They are presimably random, and in three years of simming I didn't hit one. They look interesting, I just didn't have the chance to see them in action.
From what I've read over at the OOTP boards they are meant to be pretty rare.
 
# 6 orion523 @ 04/14/12 09:57 AM
I've been playing OOTP since OOTP 8, and it is without a doubt the finest baseball game on the market. Yes even better than The Show. What it lacks in graphical prowess, it more than makes up for in depth, realism, and immersion. There is not another baseball sim like it.
 
# 7 ey215 @ 04/14/12 02:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thevaliantx
Let's be honest here. Anyone that's played more than of the OOTP series in the past knows that this edition was more about changing the way things look in the interface. I hear some say that the player development model has gotten better, but if you hit the OOTP forums you find that not to be the case.

I'm glad the reviewer mentioned the possibility of having more animations than the ball moving. The reality is that it's not going to happen. I disagree with the reviewer's notion that any added animations would be a bonus and not a necessity. Markus WAS going to have someone code 2D animations into OOTP 13, but it didn't happen. Why? Because too many folks on the OOTP forums trashed the idea and suggested that OOTP 13 would be nothing more than another console game if it it had any more animations. OOTP players, in general, hate the idea of having animations in OOTP. How did Markus manage to avoid the issue of not having animations in this version? By claiming that his ... uh ... other programmer had other obligations and didn't have the time to make the 2D engine.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be arguing that 2D animations are a necessity. I completely disagree. I've been playing text based sports games since MicroLeague baseball back on my Apple IIgs and have messed around in most of the genres (even pro wrestling).

I wasn't crazy about the idea of an animation engine when they put it into FM, but it has worked out well. I just don't think it would add enormously to the OOTP experience. The difference between the two games essentially is that in a game like soccer it's good to get a visual representation of where your players are on the pitch and how various tactics interact with the opposing team. Baseball is not a sport that really needs that.

Would I take a 2D engine? Sure. Is it a necessity? Not at all, and I'd rather the OOTP team spends valuable time and resources on other things.
 
# 8 Jukeman @ 04/14/12 05:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ey215
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be arguing that 2D animations are a necessity. I completely disagree. I've been playing text based sports games since MicroLeague baseball back on my Apple IIgs and have messed around in most of the genres (even pro wrestling).

I wasn't crazy about the idea of an animation engine when they put it into FM, but it has worked out well. I just don't think it would add enormously to the OOTP experience. The difference between the two games essentially is that in a game like soccer it's good to get a visual representation of where your players are on the pitch and how various tactics interact with the opposing team. Baseball is not a sport that really needs that.

Would I take a 2D engine? Sure. Is it a necessity? Not at all, and I'd rather the OOTP team spends valuable time and resources on other things.

Its def not a necessity but it will be a big bonus even if it was just 2d models running the bases and fielders moving towards the ball (ball animated better)

Graphics could be a plus, look at what facegens bring.

But I love the play by play text and it so detailed compare to other pbp text I've seen, it sucks me in with suspense so It really doesn't matter if they add some kind of graphics.

I was marking out when my team was in a 10th inning battle at home against the D'Backs.

Our lead off hitter for the inning gets a base hit, which was then followed by another base hit as our guy on 1st gambled his way to 3rd on a fly ball that dropped in for a single.

Next at-bats was a fly out followed by a strike out.

Pitcher up, so I called for a pinch hitter. Pinch hitter down on the count 0-2 with two foul balls.

But the 3rd pitch was a wild pitch that hit the backdrop which ended up bringing in the winning run for a 5-4 victory!
 
# 9 ey215 @ 04/15/12 05:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thevaliantx
Yeah, you're wrong. I never said that 2D animations are a necessity. I implied, correctly so, that there is a segment of the OOTP community that wants SOME SORT of animation (beyond a silly looking ball that just glides in a linear path across the screen), and that Markus (lead developer of the OOTP series) caved because posters on the OOTP forum that have thousands upon thousands of posts cried that it's not a necessity. Look, you can try and spin it any way you want, but this is not about what's a necessity and what isn't. It's about what the gamers WANT. You may not want 2D animations, and that's perfectly fine, but whether you want something or not does not by definition make something a necessity, or not.
Ok, you weren't saying it's a necessity. That's fine, I guess I misread the post. Also, no it's not what "the" gamer want, it's what "some" gamers want, let's not blow this out of proportion. Game development is all about priorities. There are other things that I'd rather see fixed, but hey to each their own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thevaliantx
I must chuckle at your assertion that soccer is so much more complex than baseball that it needs animations. Looks to me like it's a case of you wanting animations in your favorite game, but that its not okay if someone wants animations in their favorite game. Correct me if I'm wrong.
I didn't make that assertion, I actually really enjoyed CM/FM before even the basic circle engine, much less the 3D one. The point I was making is that in a sport like soccer (or for that matter football, basketball, or any sport where you have players in fairly constant movement) some type of graphics engine is more important than a sport like baseball where fundamentally a ground ball to short involves the pitcher, batter, shortstop and first baseman all making routine repetitive moves. It's actually a large reason that baseball translates to radio better than any other sport.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thevaliantx
As far as how the OOTP spends their "valuable time", I believe that would be up to Markus & Gang. At this point, especially at the rate that MLB: The Show is going, Markus might want to evaluate whether redesigning the interface adding the ability to hold a a 500 team league (slight exaggeration there, but not off by much) are the sorts of things that are going to keep the OOTP series going strong. Reading the comments on the OOTP forums, playing MLB: The Show this year (it's a HUGE improvement over last year), and looking back at all my years of baseball gaming experience and my knowledge of the sport, I'd say that things don't look so rosy for OOTP. Yes, I've bought the last five versions of OOTP so I know what I'm talking about. ;-)
I'll have to disagree here, the markets for the The Show or 2k, while intersecting some are fairly different and with 13 by far being the best version of OOTP yet, and with more mainstream interest in the statistical side of baseball that the future of OOTP looks very bright.

I will say it again, when Markus & Co decide that it is a priority I'm fine with a graphics engine in the game. I just don't think we're at that point yet. With that being said, with the big improvements this year it's getting close to the point that we're more likely to see a graphics engine in the next couple of versions than ever before.
 
# 10 injury log @ 04/17/12 10:11 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thevaliantx
Let's be honest here. Anyone that's played more than of the OOTP series in the past knows that this edition was more about changing the way things look in the interface. I hear some say that the player development model has gotten better, but if you hit the OOTP forums you find that not to be the case.

I'm glad the reviewer mentioned the possibility of having more animations than the ball moving. The reality is that it's not going to happen. I disagree with the reviewer's notion that any added animations would be a bonus and not a necessity. Markus WAS going to have someone code 2D animations into OOTP 13, but it didn't happen. Why? Because too many folks on the OOTP forums trashed the idea and suggested that OOTP 13 would be nothing more than another console game if it it had any more animations. OOTP players, in general, hate the idea of having animations in OOTP. How did Markus manage to avoid the issue of not having animations in this version? By claiming that his ... uh ... other programmer had other obligations and didn't have the time to make the 2D engine.
I volunteer as an OOTP beta tester, and what thevaliantx says above is a complete fabrication. Improving in-game animations is a high priority for the game's developers, but is also a complicated coding task. It was intended to be a major feature for this version of the game, but only if it was possible to do it properly. Real life obstacles intervened, and for that reason alone, priorities shifted for this version. The opinions of people on the OOTP forums had absolutely nothing to do with it.

And the player development model saw some significant changes this version, and the changes are obvious, so I don't know what the first paragraph of your post means. In the Amateur Draft, it is no longer the case that many High School pitchers are 2-pitch relievers. Most High School draftees now have at least some chance to develop into starting pitchers.

It's entirely fair to criticize OOTP, and in a game as complex as OOTP is, there will always be flaws. But I find it pretty disgusting to simply make things up and use your invented version of reality as the basis of your criticisms, especially on a public forum where many people won't be aware of what is true and what is not. If you were attacking McDonalds or Coca Cola, that would be one thing, but OOTP is a small business that needs all the sales it can get just to get by year after year. It shouldn't have to contend with people lying about the game on public forums.
 
# 11 injury log @ 04/17/12 10:12 AM
I volunteer as an OOTP beta tester, and what thevaliantx says above is a complete fabrication. Improving in-game animations is a high priority for the game's developers, but is also a complicated coding task. It was intended to be a major feature for this version of the game, but only if it was possible to do it properly. Real life obstacles intervened, and for that reason alone, priorities shifted for this version. The opinions of people on the OOTP forums had absolutely nothing to do with it.

And the player development model saw some significant changes this version, and the changes are obvious, so I don't know what the first paragraph of your post means. In the Amateur Draft, it is no longer the case that many High School pitchers are 2-pitch relievers. Most High School draftees now have at least some chance to develop into starting pitchers.

It's entirely fair to criticize OOTP, and in a game as complex as OOTP is, there will always be flaws. But I find it pretty disgusting to simply make things up and use your invented version of reality as the basis of your criticisms, especially on a public forum where many people won't be aware of what is true and what is not. If you were attacking McDonalds or Coca Cola, that would be one thing, but OOTP is a small business that needs all the sales it can get just to get by year after year. It shouldn't have to contend with people lying about the game on public forums.
 
# 12 injury log @ 04/17/12 10:13 AM
Sorry for the double-post
 
# 13 jmount78 @ 04/17/12 10:19 AM
Back on point here. The game is solid. I never thought a text based baseball sim would be this much fun and so time consuming!

I still play my other console games of The Show, MLB 2k12, and Pro Yakyuu, but OOTP really does consume the majority of my time now.
 
# 14 Perceptor @ 04/17/12 11:52 AM
I've really gotten into the new interface this year and love it. I also love the depth of this game as someone who's always loved stats, GM'ing, and player development at all levels of the organization.

Whether there's 2D animations or not, this is a fantastic game and deserves all the credit it does. I love facegen and the nuances this game has. It's overwhelmingly deep at times and that's a very good thing
 
# 15 Tycobbler @ 04/18/12 06:32 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by injury log
Sorry for the double-post
Hey it's cool injury log. Some may need to read it twice. OOTP far and away is the best text based simulator around; thier is no competition. The Show on the otherhand is in a differeent realm. Apples and oranges i'd say. If you're a console guy/gal go play the show. If you're a PC player OOTP is above and beyond any sports game you can find, less FM which in it's own right is a blast to play.

Graphics don't make or break the game; any game for that matter. It's what's under the hood that keeps folks clamoring for more. OOTP isn't going anywhere but up, and will continue to do great with it's fanbase, and a developer who is there for you. No other company can claim that.
 
# 16 Tycobbler @ 04/18/12 06:37 AM
...and while we're at it put Out of the Park baseball atop with the other baseball games listed. Having to sift thru a forum to find the game is the equivalent of having a valued scout finding a diamond in the rough. Show the game some repsect. 13 versions should speak for itself!
 
# 17 Jukeman @ 04/18/12 01:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tycobbler
Hey it's cool injury log. Some may need to read it twice. OOTP far and away is the best text based simulator around; thier is no competition. The Show on the otherhand is in a differeent realm. Apples and oranges i'd say. If you're a console guy/gal go play the show. If you're a PC player OOTP is above and beyond any sports game you can find, less FM which in it's own right is a blast to play.

Graphics don't make or break the game; any game for that matter. It's what's under the hood that keeps folks clamoring for more. OOTP isn't going anywhere but up, and will continue to do great with it's fanbase, and a developer who is there for you. No other company can claim that.
Not even if you a console or PC guy.

If you're a person who like to sim out seasons and build a team (which people do in The Show/MLB2k) this is a must have game.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
# 18 JackosanWYO @ 04/18/12 03:08 PM
Anyone know where I can get into an online league, the OOTP 13 forum is DOA so i'm thinking its all underground. Any other sites out there or any leagues starting up?
 
# 19 snepp @ 04/18/12 03:26 PM
For those that don't frequent the OOTP forum, injury log is one of the most well know and respected members of the community.
 
# 20 bkrich83 @ 04/21/12 11:56 PM
Bough it last night messed with it some today. Loving the new interface. Game is sooo deep, but the interface upgrade makes it infinitely more manageable.
 

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